Spring comes to Ringwood… well, almost.

La Nova Singers in rehearsal

So. Last year we learned that if you make preparations to put on an event entitled ‘Summer Garden Concert‘, you will inevitably end up with the wettest summer in 100 years.

And this year, just to drive the message home, we had two concerts sub-titled ‘A choral celebration of spring’. If you’ve been outside in the last few weeks – or considered going outside, looked out of the window and then thought better of it – you will have noticed that conditions in the UK have not been exactly spring-like.

But that has never held back La Nova Singers from our mission of performing uplifting choral music, and so it was that we returned to Ringwood Meeting House on 20th April for a concert that seemed to be enjoyed by all present.

Classical choral concert in Hampshire

The Meeting House is an unusual venue, but a lovely performance space.


Pianist Celia Cologne in rehearsal for La Nova Singers concert, Ringwood; with Steven Howard on fluteCelia Cologne is no stranger to Ringwood audiences, having had a long career on the stage! For this concert she was not only accompanying us on piano, but provided expert advice to Anne T for her Noël Coward solo, ‘Please, Mrs Worthington!’. Steve Howard was on hand for flute accompaniment and page-turning.

Behind the scenes - second soprano line in blue!Despite appearances, no deliberate effort was made to co-ordinate dresses for this concert!

Bella Nova Singers perform in Ringwood, with classical singing teacher Michelle NovaThe Bella Nova Singers young ensemble also performed, slightly low on numbers but aided by Anne T and Josie .

Photo by Dennis of Rivendell Designs Photography

Photo by Dennis of Rivendell Designs Photography

Three Little Maids refusing to be held back by the mysterious disappearance of their fans!

Colourful Dorset choir La Nova Singers perform in Ringwood Meeting House

Let’s hear it for the Studio Choir! – Joint concert for Macmillan Caring Locally is a resounding success

Michelle Nova, singer and singing teacher, with the Studio Choir at a concert in Bournemouth

It’s not an unusual story in this day and age: a disparate group of women, brought together almost by chance and faced with the apparently insurmountable task of forming themselves into an elite singing ensemble. In just a few short weeks, these women became a fully-fledged choir. Their mission: to sing – aargh! – in public, and raise some money for charity into the bargain.

But this is not a television show. This is the Studio Choir, formed from participants in singing teacher Michelle Nova’s first all-female Bel Canto choral course. Like the now-famous Military Wives Choir created by Gareth Malone, they enjoyed the many benefits of singing: the intense focus that takes your mind off day-to-day worry; the conscious breathing and good posture; and the confidence that comes from mastering a difficult challenge. They have also had the opportunity to study techniques passed down by the great Bel Canto singers of history, and put these to use in a charity concert for Christchurch-based cancer charity Macmillan Caring Locally.

Studio Choir, La Nova Singers, Bella Nova Singers and Michelle Nova

We members of La Nova Singers were of course not allowed to rest on our laurels and let these other talented women do all the singing! The concert, ‘Light is my Heart’, featured performances from ourselves and our ‘little sister’ ensemble Bella Nova Singers; so there was a wide range of different music for the audience to enjoy. All the singers joined together to perform songs including Ricevete from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, and The Rhythm of Life.

Thanks to a generous audience, we raised £365 for Macmillan Caring Locally.

Exclusive video footage from the concert will soon be available from the La Nova Studios YouTube channel.


Bears Aloud!

Time to share a few more photos from our Children in Need fundraising concert last week! Here we all are, sporting our fabulous Pudsey ears – and featuring new member Alison in the Second Soprano section…

And below, the girls from Bella Nova Singers brave the cold to collect money from the fine people of Ringwood:

Our most important contributors got a Children in Need sticker!

Tomorrow La Nova Singers will be back in the recording studio, putting down some more tracks for our upcoming CD! We’ll also have some behind-the-scenes footage from the last recording session for you, coming very soon – here on the La Nova Blog.


What a smashing, positively dashing spectacle – the Summer Non-Garden Concert!

The sun shone bright and warm on the day of our Summer Garden Concert – obviously somebody didn’t get the memo about it being held indoors, at The Meeting House, Ringwood! Fortunately our audience turned up in force, and enjoyed a colourful, musical celebration of the capricious British summertime.

"I have never been so keyed up!"

The Ascot Gavotte. Photo by Rivendell Designs Photography

There were fairy wings, fancy hats, fruity cocktails, picnics and bunting galore; and nobody even had to worry about getting rained on.

Bella Nova Singers. Photo by Rivendell Designs Photography

La Nova Singers were joined by Bella Nova Singers, a group of younger performers who were formerly a quartet but at this event had expanded to five. Bella Nova were fresh from their success at the 2012 Bournemouth Music Competitions Festival, where they won the junior ensemble class. They performed several pieces, including ‘Save the Child’ from Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio; Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ and the traditional spiritual ‘Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho’. Jess also performed a solo, ‘I Could Have Danced All Night!’ from My Fair Lady.

Photo by Rivendell Designs Photography

There was fun with Fairy Chorus from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe, and Three Little Maids from the Mikado. The audience were also treated to a solo from Michelle Nova herself – the Song to the Moon from Dvorak’s Rusalka. The well-loved tunes from West Side Story, and a sprinkling of classic pop songs, made for a really enjoyable programme.

Photo by Rivendell Designs Photography

Thanks to Dennis of Rivendell Designs Photography for taking some lovely photos at this event, and to Nigel Nother for going to Mockbeggar Lane in Ibsley to redirect any stray audience members (of which there were… none)! Thanks also to Su, who was prepared to host us in her lovely garden (even if the weather won out in the end!) and to Lisa and Sally for their help, as always.

So, what’s next for La Nova Singers? On Monday 20th August we’ve got a very exciting concert, in Dorchester for the Thomas Hardy Festival. Stay tuned for an announcement about a particularly special piece of music we’re sure you won’t want to miss…!


Macmillan Caring Locally Charity Concert

There was an autumnal chill in the air as an audience was ushered into the warmth of West Cliff Baptist Church; on this night, La Nova Singers would give a concert in aid of Macmillan Caring Locally. Neal Williams, the trust’s secretary, was kind enough to attend and introduce the evening.

The singers performed music from right across their repertoire, beginning with Baroque favourites by Handel and Mozart (which some of the audience would remember from the group’s spectacular Somerley House concert in 2009). John Rutter made a brief appearance with some characteristically memorable pieces, and the first half ended with the ethereally beautiful ‘In Paradisum’ from the Fauré Requiem. Steven Howard brought an added dimension to this and other pieces with his flute accompaniment, which blended beautifully with the voices.

Tonight was a special occasion, being the first official concert performance of a new group of singers: the Bella Nova quartet. Although the four girls have only been singing together for a year, they charmed the audience with their renditions of Howard Goodall’s Vicar of Dibley theme, Brahms’ Lullaby and Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven.

The concert’s second half opened in darkness with Puccini’s Humming chorus, the singers processing towards the stage as they sang, each illuminated by a small votive. The audience then enjoyed the infamous Cat Duet; Paul Simon’s Bridge over Troubled Water; and Su Convy’s star turn as soloist in “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”.

The concert ended as it began, with a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus; and Michelle Nova extended the group’s thanks to their new pianist, Victor Burbidge – who, despite having only been playing for the group since August, has already made a big impression!

La Nova Singers will now be busy preparing for their festive offering, ‘Songs of Christmas Past’, at Highcliffe Castle on 14 December.